Analyzing Wittgenstein's Lion By Vicki Hearne

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Vicki Hearne published Animal Happiness in 1994. The excerpt provided focuses specifically on her perspective with regards to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s argument on lions and language and a troupe of performing orangutans. Hearne’s main point in the first section titled “Wittgenstein’s Lion” is that Wittgenstein’s belief that lions do not have language is false. Instead, the author argues that a type of language does exist for lions. Her argument is supported by describing the relationship between a lion and its trainer. In the next section, “The Case of the Disobedient Orangutans”, the author further delves into the concept of language and animal behavior by arguing that orangutans develop a “vocabulary”, a type of language when interacting with their trainers. The author uses situations found in literature, research, and real life examples to illustrate that animals are more sophisticated than initially considered and have an ability to work with a language. “Wittgenstein’s Lion” begins with a reference to Immanuel Kant and his role in separating human beings from animals by saying that animals apparently do not cry. This beginning is …show more content…

When explaining her argument, the author speaks of the phenomena of how simple commands can have the same reference for both the trainer and the lion proving a framework for a language. To further elaborate on this argument, Hearne uses the term posture to refer to an object/ command like “stay” that is theoretically understood by both parties (lion and the trainer). Hearne develops her methodology by using dogs’ ability to recognize many human social forms. Similarly, lions are thought to have mediated knowledge and are important modes of knowledge. At the end of the section, Hearne educates the readers about other people’s opinion of Wittgenstein including Daniel C. Dennet, who denies animals of

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